Saturday, April 30, 2016

Ramble Report April 28 2016

Here's the link to Don's Facebook album for today's Ramble. (All the photos in this post are compliments of Don.)

Today's Ramble was led by Linda Chafin; the post was written by Don Hunter and Linda Chafin; assembled by Dale Hoyt.

Twenty-two Ramblers met today .

Announcement: Sandy Creek Nature Center offers their monthly guided walk next Weds., May 4, at 9:00AM. Halley Page will show you around the areas being prepared for the managed forest project. Come out and learn!

Today's reading: Dale read an excerpt from the book Crow Planet by Lyanda Lynn Haupt; Little, Brown & Co., 2009, pp. 4-5:

Many nature writers send dispatches from their wooded homes with the brook babbling outside the ever-open window; they go on weeks- or months-long solitary rambles in remote places. They bring us along, in their writing, on these adventures and in the musings they inspire. And they do inspire. Certainly, I believe that wilderness experiences are both restorative and essential on many levels. . . . But in making such experiences the core of our "connection to nature" we set up a chasm between our daily lives ("non-nature") and wilder places ("true nature"), even though it is in our everyday lives, in our everyday homes, that we eat, consume energy, run the faucet, compost, flush, learn, and live. It is here, in our lives, that we must come to know our essential connection to the wilder earth, because it is here, in the activity of our daily lives, that we most surely affect this earth, for good or for ill.

Today's route:  From the arbor we walked past the American South garden, over the Flower Bridge to the Threatened and Endangered Species Garden and the Bog Garden overlook. From there we went down the Purple trail to the river, then left on the Orange trail and up to the Heath Bluff. We then retraced our steps back to the Visitor Center and Donderos'.

The Arbor: We discussed the presence of many blooming chinaberry trees in the Athens area. The consensus was that this is an unusually heavy flowering year for the chinaberry trees.  Several Ramblers had noticed them blooming in areas where they had not been noticed in the past. There are even several blooming on the road into the Garden from Milledge Ave. This tree has been in the US at least since 1776, when John Abbott began to paint American plants and wildlife. There is currently an exhibit of his paintings on display at the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library; one of them depicts a chinaberry tree. Chinaberry berries are toxic and were used to kill fly maggots in the latrines of Chinese prison camps.

American South Garden

Eastern bluestar

Fringed bluestar
Spiderworts, Blue Stars, Amsonia, two species, Eastern bluestar, with narrowly oval or lance-shaped leaves, and Fringed bluestar, with very narrow, needle-like leaves. The latter is adapted to the high light, high heat, droughty conditions of Coastal Plain sandhills.

Rosa's Blush Blueberry, cultivar of Vaccinium darrowii.

Yellowwood, mountain species of tree, with compound leaves with alternate leaflet pattern on some leaves and opposite leaflet pattern on others.

Blue wild indigo
Blue wild indigo.....saw two colors of blooms, blue and cream white, probably same species

American wisteria at base of Michaux's oak, can be difficult to distinguish from the invasive Chinese species when not in flower as leaf differences are subtle 

Big leaf magnolia
Big leaf magnolia....we saw one or two large, cream white flowers high in the tree

Pitcher Plant Mountain Bog Overlook:

The pitcher plant bog inhabitants
Three or four species blooming now....white, yellow green, green and red species blooming currently....Sweet pitcher plant (red) and Hooded pitcher plant and yellow trumpet (yellow)

Carolina mantle slug  on top of rock wall

Purple Trail:

Partridgeberry foliage

Elliot's blueberry AKA Mayberry....small leaves and green twigs, even through winter....only very few berries remaining...squirrels and birds eat them

Lion's foot showing variation in leaf shape
Lion's foot AKA gall-of-the-earth.....highly variable leaf composite family

Net-wing beetle on lion's paw

Horse sugar shrub  

Jeff noticed several small trees with deer rubs

Bud scales of American Beech; dropped when new growth emerges 
American beech....we saw many bud scales scattered along the trail and noticed the new growth, which followed shedding of the scales, is green.

Deciduous holly/possumhaw........long shoots, short shoots     mono layer tree, typical of many understory trees, optimizing light gathering for all leaves

Sourwood....we saw several along this section of trail, all twisting their way in search of available sunlight

Solomon's plume....we saw several small examples, none even budding at this time. Linda talked about the difference in appearance of the leaves of Solomon's plume and Solomon's seal.....Solomon's seal leaves are a paler green with a waxy appearance

Cleavers...different species than we've been sticky hairs

Poa grass

Tulip tree flower
Tulip tree flowers on the trail....squirrels chew the twig from the tree in the process of getting to the nectar ...Dale suspects it's to get to sugar from the nectaries at the base of the petals.

Red shouldered hawk serenade;.there was some spirited discussion about whether this was a red shouldered hawk or a red tailed hawk. I think red shouldered hawk was the consensus.

Wild little brown jugs visible on the examples we saw, but lots of new, bright green  leaves eclipsing last year’s dark and tattered leaves.

Filmy dome spider web, a sheet weaver spider

Chalk maples....common in this section of the Garden due to the more basic soils that are higher in calcium and magnesium than other locations, where chalk maples are absent.

Yellow wood sorrel

Eggs of unknown insect on newly emerged grape leaf
Muscadine/grape with unknown insect eggs on it

Christmas fern

Hop hornbeams....loved by sapsuckers;Hornbeam disk mushrooms

Orange Trail:
Snakeroot: growing where the Purple Trail joins the Orange Trail.

Musclewood trunk; note "sinewy" shape
Hop hornbeam...covered with sapsucker holes
Lyre-leaf sage

Heath bluff:
Includes several mountain species that extend south from the Appalachians along river valleys and bluffs.

American toad; note the large glandular swellings behind eyes
American toad (red color variant). Toads have large glands on the head behind the eyes that secrete a poisonous alkaloid compound...emetic for dogs, can even kill them; Hog nosed snakes can eat them with impunity, however.

Veiny Hawkweed
Veiny Hawkweed (Rattlesnake weed)

Mountain laurel flowers
Mountain laurel flowers: their anthers are tucked into tiny pockets in the petas; the weight of an insect crawling on the stamen’s filament will trigger the release of the anther from the pocket, showering the insect with pollen. When the insect visits another Mountain Laurel plant it transfers the pollen to its flowers.

Galax;.a few flowers at base of several of the immature inflorescences

American holly

Dwarf Pawpaw


American South Garden
Tradescantia ohioensis
Eastern bluestar
Amsonia tabrernaemontana
Fringed/Texas bluestar
Amsonia ciliata
Rosa's Blush Blueberry
Vaccinium darrowii (cultivar)
Cladrastis kentukea
Blue wild indigo
Baptisia australis
American wisteria
Wisteria frutescens
Michaux's oak
Quercus michauxii  
Big leaf magnolia
Magnolia macrophylla
Hooded pitcher plant
Sarracenia minor
Yellow trumpet pitcher plant
Sarracenia flava
Carolina mantle slug
Philomycus carolinianus
Purple Trail
Mitchella repens
Elliot's blueberry AKA Mayberry
Vaccinium elliottii
Lion's paw AKA gall-of-the-earth
Prenanthes trifolata
Net-wing beetle
Coleoptera: Lycidae
Horse sugar
Symplocos tinctoria  
American beech
Fagus grandifolia
Deciduous holly/possumhaw
Ilex decidua
Oxydenrum arboreum
Solomon's plume
Maianthemum racemosum
(= Smilacina racemosa)
Cleavers (non-sticky)
Galium sp.
Poa grass
Poa sp.
Tulip tree
Liriodendron tulipifera
Red shouldered hawk
Buteo lineatus
Arrow-leaf ginger
Hexastylis arifolia
Chalk maples
Acer leucoderme
Yellow wood sorrel
Oxalis stricta
Muscadine grape
Vitis rotundifolia
Christmas fern
Polystichum acrostichoides
Ostraya virginiana
Hornbeam disk mushroom
Aleurodiscus oakseii
Orange Trail
Sanicula sp. 
Carpinus caroliniana
Silverbell tree
Halesia carolinana
Lyreleaf sage
Salvia lyrata
Heath Bluff

American toad
Bufo americanus
Hawkweed (Rattlesnake weed)
Hieracium venosum
Mountain laurel
Kalmia latifolia
Galax urceolata
American holly
Ilex opaca
Asimina triloba

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